We at Flawless couldn’t be more pleased with the the phenomenal turnout for our private reception held in honor of Dr. Stuart Ablon, at the home of Ron and Lynne Saxton. In attendance were representatives from many mental health agencies across the state, advocates from all over Oregon, as well as administrators and practitioners from Oregon Health & Science University. After listening to Dr. Ablon speak of the transformative healing powers of CPS, everyone had the opportunity to meet with him about what has been done and what still needs to be. We are thankful for all who came out to meet the man who is helping us change the lives of children all across the nation. And we are especially thankful to American Airlines, who, despite sending us Dr. Ablon a little late, sent him safely!
Dr Stuart. Ablon’s Lecture on Collaborative Problem Solving at OHSU!
The Flawless Foundation is happy to announce that our presentation of Dr. Stuart Ablon’s Collaborative Problem Solving lecture at Oregon Health & Science University was an enormous success! We had close to 100 physiciains, administrators, educators and mental health professionals in the audience. In addition to listening in on the revolutionary ideas of one of child psychiatry’s most progressive minds, attendees were also able to use the lecture as credit for their ongoing education. The Flawless Foundation wishes to thank all who made this wonderful learning experience possible.
Questions for Dr. Stuart Ablon
What is collaborative problem solving?
What is the definition of a behaviorally challenged kid?
Can you talk about the rates in reduction of seclusion and restraints in programs where they implement CPS?
Dr. Ablon talks about this being a major public health issue.
Dr. Ablon gives some advice to parents who are trying to use the CPS techniques.
Dr. Ablon at a conference that Flawless sponsored in Oregon
When I am in NYC, I stay with my Mom on the Upper East Side, the neighborhood where I spent many years working as an admissions director in an independent school. Interviewing 500 families a year in that job,(and having a child in a school in the same neighborhood) I know a lot of people!! I often feel like the mayor walking down the street because I always run into many people that I know. On a trip last month, I bumped into four acquaintances in one hour. That is the beauty of a walking city like NY – connections are easily made and life can be oddly public.
Now, public and parenting don’t always go so well together. Humbling, Embarrassing, Yikes having people observe your interactions with your child, can be hmmmmmmmmmm, interesting. I had an experience this weekend walking along the streets of the UES where I was privvy to three very explosive interactions between parents and their children. On Sunday, a beautiful sunny day, there was a situation on Madison Avenue where a father was yelling at his pre teen daughter with such fervor that it drew a crowd. His body language was so intense that it looked as if he might hit her. A few blocks later a mother was so frustrated and angry with her children that the Dad stepped in to mediate. Finally, the next morning, I witnessed a little girl crying because her feet hurt from walking too long and the Dad (walking many feet away) yelled in a very critical voice,” That’s cause you never walk enough, now move it”
In our house we used to have a lot of turmoil and behavioral challenges to deal with. That was before we discovered the work of Dr. Stuart Ablon of Think:Kids,(www.thinkkids.org) a philosophy of working with children and parenting that has changed our lives so dramatically. A common sense, basic mediation technique, Dr. Ablon’s approach has taught us to slow down, take each other’s perspectives into account and problem solve together. Our son, Ellis comes up with better solutions to potential conflicts than we do. He recently announced to us that he wants to be a diplomate and teach everyone how to “problem solve collaboratively”. (which is a miracle as we had terrible two types of tantrums in our house many years after he was two) Another fun example was a few months ago on a vacation in Colorado, tired after a long day of skiing I was not patient with Ellis and he looked at me, totally forlorn and said, “Mommy why are n’t you problem solving with me??? This reminded me how we almost never have power struggles anymore. This stuff really works!!!
In my professional life with Flawless, I have witnessed countless miracles with Dr. Ablon’s approach being utilized in schools, hospitals, juvenile detention facilities and residential treatment centers. This evidence based approach is revolutionary in working with children and adolescents who struggle with behavioral challenges. I was so pleased last week to hear from a school Principal who told me that half her staff is utilizing the approach and she joked that they have become “Groupies”. Once you truly embrace the philosophy and motto of Think:Kids which is “Kids Do Well If They Can”…………. life with your children is so much better!!! It is just remarkable!!
We are thrilled to be bringing Dr. Ablon to NYC for a conference on May 3rd – Come Join Us!!!
Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison with members of the Flawless Board
About a week ago, I had the incredible opportunity to hear Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison speak at a benefit for ChristieCare, an amazing mental health organization where I serve on the board of directors. (www.christiecare.org) That night I spent time with Dr. Jamison at a cocktail reception talking about many burning issues in mental health. This conversation was challenging,inspiring and very thought provoking. There were three important things that we discussed that have been on my mind for the past week. The first question I asked Dr. Jamison was her advice on where Flawless should focus our efforts. We have grown so big so fast and are currently going through an intensive strategic planning process. When I asked her opinion on which percentage of our funds and efforts should be spent on science vs. advocacy, she emphatically said, 99% into science. She made an excellent point that the more that people understand that mental illnesses are brain diseases, the more we reduce stigma. Really good information to ponder!!!
The other very interesting aspect of our conversation was talking about stigma. Dr. Jamison offered the idea of thinking of stigma more as discrimination. Wow, this has changed my viewpoint a lot. I have put on the discrimination lens and it has been very exciting and empowering. Discrimination – more legal, matter of fact — I really like it. There are laws about discrimination, systems in place to take action. This angle of discrimination has helped me to become a much more effective advocate. This week I had a fabulous conversation with a special education attorney and advocate about the Emotional Disturbance classification for special education students and was able to quickly make some impact on changing this classification for a child I was advocating for. (BTW – this attorney/advocate is INCREDIBLE – www.marybroadhurst.com) For those of you who are interested in mental health advocacy, try on this discrimination idea for a while and let me know what you think.
The last interesting point from my day with Dr. Jamison was looking at my own “shut down” or resistance that happens around mental health topics. When Dr. Jamison was citing statistics during her lecture(every 17 minutes someone commits suicide, etc) I realized how foggy and unclear I was in remembering the stats. Now I have devoted my life to this cause, this is my work, my passion – how could I not remember the stats??(and I have a great memory, so no excuse there) This phenomenon of getting fuzzy around these issues is something I have encountered a lot with fundraisers,donors, friends, family and myself. Some of my initial thoughts about this are how connected we all are to mental illness(1 in 5 families are affected by mental illness – hope I have that stat correct),the pain around it,the subtle and powerful discrimination.(note – I didnt use the word stigma)This is something that Flawless is going to actively explore – I recently had discussions with a mental health fundraiser in NYC about this and we talked about planning a conference together on some of these critical issues. Stay tuned for details!!
And since everything we do at Flawless is inspired by gratitude, I must acknowledge the genius work of Dr. Jamison, her powerful advocacy, brilliant books and research. We are so lucky to have her as a scholar in this area of science. I am also grateful for Glenn Close and the folks at BC2M who are providing a very consistent, public forum for us to be aware of all things mental health. Check out this inspiring work – www.bringchange2mind.org
Flawless Board Members with Drs. Jetmalani(OHSU), Ablon(Mass. General/Harvard Medical School and Mc Elvey(OHSU)
What a fabulous way to celebrate my birthday!! On August 17th, Flawless hosted a conference at Oregon Health Science University for 100 physicians, administrators and mental health professionals. The interest and enthusiasm about this conference was impressive as we had to close registration much earlier than we expected. People traveled from all over the state to join us to hear about the very important work of Dr. Stuart Ablon. (including two of our dedicated board members, Lori and Tara who traveled all the way from NYC)
Dr. Ablon is the Director of Think Kids (www.thinkkids.org) which is based out of Mass. General/Harvard Medical School. Collaborative Problem Solving(CPS) is a revolutionary, humane approach to working with children with behavioral challenges. The philosophy behind this incredible work is “Kids do well if they can”. Some of the amazing results of implementing this evidence based method include increased academic performance, drastic reduction in rates of seclusion and restraints of children and increased morale for staff and staff retention. We are so pleased to be supporting this very crucial work especially in Oregon where whole systems of care are implementing the model so effectively.
The feedback from the conference was very positive and we are looking forward to creating more training opportunities in the near future. We are especially pleased about the video that we were able to facilitate that day which included an interview about CPS with Dr. Ablon. This educational, informative video will provide an introduction to the model to parents, educators and mental health professionals and will be available on our website very soon.
Even though August 17th was a random date that Dr. Ablon was available, I couldnt imagine a more valuable, meaningful, way to celebrate my birthday - it doesnt get much better – creating hope for the children of Flawless and the heroic adults who care for them.